Tips to Helping Children Become Self-Motivated

Here are a few tips to help influence them towards self-motivation.

1. Don’t let anxiety push them to get motivated. Motivation will only be to resist you (or comply to placate you). This causes them to react to you instead of focusing on themselves and finding some internal motivation. Don’t create a power struggle.

2. Lead with inspiration. The only way to motivate is to stop trying to motivate. Instead, work towards inspiring the child. Be sure exhibited behavior is inspiring and not controlling. Controlling won’t work. Often examples from a parent’s life can identify someone who has been an inspiration. Work toward the goals that example sets.

3. Let them face the consequences of their choices. Let your child make his own decisions. When it’s a poor choice, hold him accountable by letting him face what comes with it.

An example is not doing homework. The consequence are taking the computer away. Basically the getting homework done is in the child’s hands, not yours. If they do what their accountable for, they have the resources to continue to meet those goals. It’s key to remain firm on the consequences.

4. Questions are the answer
• What motivates the child?
• What does he really want?
• What questions can be asked that will help the child discover and explore interests?
• What are his goals and ambitions?

Step far enough away to really ‘see’ the child and create an observation. Have a conversation to find out the answers to the 4 questions above. Listen to what the answers are—not to what the desired answer might be. Respect the answers, even if they’re not what is expected.

5. Be an investigator. Children can become self-motivated to do those things, to work toward the things they’re interested in. They don’t just do the right thing, they want to do the right things. Encouraging this requires that the investigator. Instead of asking “Did you get your homework done?” ask “I noticed that you chose not to do geometry yesterday, but you’re doing your history homework today. Is there a reason why? Notice the difference in the expected answer and in how the questions investigate and explore. This helps the child discover his own motivations and sticking points.

6. There is no self-blame. Don’t personalize the lack of motivation and internally place blame. Taking ownership of the blame actually can create more resistance and contribute to the underachieving.

Look at it this way. If you look too closely in the mirror, you can’t really see yourself—it’s just a blur. But when you get farther away, you actually see yourself more clearly. Do the same thing with your child. Sometimes we’re just so close, so enmeshed, that we just can’t see them as separate from us. But if you can stand back far enough, you can actually start to see your child as his own person and start to find out what makes him tick—and then you’ll be able to help him understand himself as well. When you step back and observe, you’ll know what works for him, why he’s reaching for certain things and what really gets him moving. There will be things he’s never going to be motivated to do but is still required to them. He may hate doing his chores and try to get out of it, and that’s when you give him consequences.

The real goal is influencing a child to do something that he really might not want to do by getting to know him well enough to figure out what his own desires might be. As a parent, it takes helping him to strengthen his skills in defining what’s important to him.

This isn’t something a parent can do for a child. But something that the parent can be instrumental in helping him figure out.

Little Otter Swim School provides quality swim lessons in a safe and fun environment, taught by caring and enthusiastic teachers. While the children are learning they are also gaining respect and love for the water. Little Otter Swim School is an alternative from the typical swim lessons. The school proudly provides year-round, small group instruction in a warm indoor swimming pool where parents can watch their children’s progress from the comfort of a viewing gallery.